December 2010 was a terrible time to be on New Jersey Devils. Either you were not-contributing to not-success or you were suffering from it, like Johan Hedberg. His save percentage dropped like an anvil off a cliff to 88.6%; his performance yielded only one win; and he got shelled for 13 goals in 6 appearances. Yet, as I found last week, 9 of those 13 goals were not soft ones let in by Moose. I repeat: he suffered from the Devils sucking rather than adding to the vacuum.
January would not only kick off a new year but a new start for a team that really needed one. After a two-win month by the team, surely it can't be any worse? But after an awful New Year's Day loss at Carolina, it seemed like the status quo would continue along with a pile of 'L's in the standings. There was even an early shock as Johan Hedberg was announced to start against Minnesota instead of Martin Brodeur; which made me roll my eyes. In retrospect, I was right to do so. The subsequent starting of Hedberg only lasted for a few games and it didn't lead the Devils to the then seemingly mythical Land of Wins.
|January 2011 - Johan Hedberg
Of course, if we learned anything over this series, it's that bad stats doesn't reveal what actually happened. Like in last month's review, the same questions apply. Were the 12 goals Hedberg allowed mostly his fault? How did they get past Moose? Did any skater make a glaring error by way of making a mistake or not doing anything? After the jump, let's review the goals allowed by Johan Hedberg in January 2011 and get some answers.
About the Review
The main thing I'm looking for in this review are "soft goals," those goals against that should have been stopped by the goaltender. Here's how I am defining a soft goal. The goalie must have seen the shot coming; the shot was not deflected or change otherwise in motion; the goalie was in position to actually make the stop; and the goaltender made an uncharacteristic mistake that led to the goal. If all were true, then I deemed the goal as "soft." In fact, the very last bit alone can make the difference between a soft goal or not (e.g. first goal against by Hedberg).
I've added a new column to the chart called Skater Error. Did a Devils skater do something seriously wrong on the play that led to the goal? If so, their name (or names) end up on the chart. I could be picky and call them out for every goal, but I'm only highlighting who's actions or lack thereof contributed to the goal against. There will be goals where multiple skaters screw up, so you may see more than one name. I'm tracking this to see who was commonly at fault, assuming it means anything. As with the goals against themselves, feel free to discuss this too.
Lastly, I have provided links to the video I looked at for each goal from NHL.com. These links will auto-play the video, so be forewarned.
The 12 Goals Allowed by Johan Hedberg in January 2011: A Chart
|Over right shoulder
|Tuomo Ruutu sets up Zac Dalpe just inside left circle for a one-timer. Beats Hedberg through a screen.
|Low, to his right
|Hedberg stops long shot from Eric Staal; Sergei Samsonov pounds in rebound. 5on3 PPGA
|Well over Hedberg's left shoulder
|Chad Larose makes a pass from behind the net to Jeff Skinner. Corrente misses pass, Skinner one-times it at crease to the top right corner
|Top right corner, off post
|Kovalchuk loses puck on breakout, Salmela falls for no reason, and Cal Clutterbuck goes one-on-one with Moose. Clutterbuck picked the far post.
|Sailed past a diving Hedberg into an empty net
|Clayton Stoner clears the puck, it hits a stantion and careens towards the net. Only Hedberg's behind the net. Moose dives, misses, and it's in.
|Sailed past a diving Hedberg into an empty net
|Hedberg is out of his net to play a dumped-in puck. Puck bounces off end boards out to the slot and Scott Hartnell jams it home.
|Through his legs, trickled in
|Ville Leino drives along the left side, finds Hartnell in between the D in the slot, and sets him up for a short one-timer
|Past his glove, mid-height
|Leino finds Danny Briere wide open in the slot just as a Flyers PP ends. Briere fires a mid-height shot past Hedberg's glove. Possibly screened by Tallinder.
|Low, to his right
|Briere and Hartnell rush up ice for 2-on-1 off Zubrus' offensive turnover. Briere makes a pass to Hartnell, but it bounces off Colin White's skate and into the net.
|Through his legs
|James van Reimsdyk drove in from the right side, Colin White tried to keep him outside, but JvR got a low shot off that squirted through Hedberg's 5-hole
|Off right arm and into the top of the net
|Claude Giroux sees Briere wide open at the right side of the net. Briere takes pass, curls, sees Hedberg's low and not covering the post, and fires a shot off his right arm and into the net. PPGA
|Under right arm, off right post and slid just over the goal line
|Claude Giroux sees van Reimsdyk breaking ahead in the slot and tosses a leading pass. van Reimsdyk just lunges at it to re-direct it. It goes under Hedberg's right arm, off the post, and slides into the net
Out of the 12 goals, I counted 4 of them as soft. So Moose didn't give up any more soft ones than he did last month; though 4 out of 12 is a worse percentage than 4 out of 13. Nevertheless, most of them weren't errors by the goaltender, meaning Moose tended to suffer from the situations he was in rather than creating his own suffering.
That said, the four softies were pretty heinous. GA #39 is the infamous game winning goal off a dump in. The Heaven & Hell of soft goals for Hedberg this season. It's sickening to watch in video. I even screamed as I saw the puck just slide towards the gaping net. Partially to make up for the stunned silence I had when I saw that happen right before my very own eyes back in January. GA #40 was similar to that one, though the puck bounced off the end boards instead of off a glass support. It was similar to GA #32 from last month, which was also a soft one. Those two goals were the main evidence of fans getting frightened any time Moose left his crease to go after a puck.
The other two soft ones from this month got him a little over 14 minutes into the Devils-Flyers game on January 8. James van Reimsdyk put a lot of effort to put a seemingly harmless shot on net and Hedberg was caught with his leg's open on GA #44. Hedberg was caught by Danny Briere and gave up way too much space along the post on a power play for GA #45, not completely unlike GA #2 against Eric Fehr way back in October. After that one, Hedberg was pulled for Brodeur and that would be his last appearance until January 22 against the Flyers, where he did much better.
As for skater errors, I didn't find as many as I expected. I tagged Tim Sestito on GA #35 because he was lost on the play just watching Zac Dalpe make the play (and the goal). Later in that game to the Canes, Matt Corrente should have tied up or fouled or did something to Jeff Skinner in front of the crease. Instead, he chose to go after short pass from Chad Larose and missed; so Skinner had the space to rip a point-blank one-timer on GA #37. Anton Volchenkov was caught in the wrong spot instead of being on Scott Hartnell on GA #41.. The most heinous error came on GA #38, the opening goal on January 4 against Minnesota. Ilya Kovalchuk's turnover at his own blueline to Cal Clutterbuck was dumb; but I also had to tag Anssi Salmela for falling down on his own. I still don't know how he managed to do that. All it did was give Clutterbuck the lane to drive and pick the far post. Horrible.
The remaining four were just goals as they happened. There wasn't a whole lot to be done on GA #36 since it was a two-man advantage for Carolina and Sergei Samsonov was right on Hedberg's doorstep for a rebound. GA #42 came just after a PP ended and the shot came through a screen - not a whole lot could have been done differently on that play. GA #43 was a literal bad bounce, as the puck went off Colin White's skate and past Hedberg's right side. Lastly, GA #46 was a hopeful lunge by van Reimsdyk and the touch managed to re-direct it perfectly right in front of Hedberg.
Ultimately, I have to conclude that most of the goals allowed weren't awful ones by Hedberg regardless of what his stats for the month indicate.
Location of Goals Allowed
All locations are relative to Hedberg himself, not necessarily where the puck goes into the net. It's pretty simplistic, but it'll do for general information.
This month, the right of Hedberg got the most attention. On those two Hedberg-out-of-the-net goals against, both went past the right side of the late diving Moose; hence the additional bump to "low right" this month. Even if you take those two out, Hedberg got beat on more to his right.
Statistically, December and January were bad months for Hedberg. However, by looking at each goal against in each month, we learn that it wasn't all his fault. Or even mostly his fault. I want to know what you think about that. Did the results of this month surprise you, or was this more of what you expected given December 2010? Did you expect more skater errors? Do you wish there was something worse I could use to describe GA #39 and GA #40? Do you think I'm being too harsh or too lenient? Please give your answers and other thoughts about this month's review of goals against in the comments. Thanks for reading.